Travelling and Covid
The FCDO advice highlights the current travel risks. Here at the Leap we can only minimise the threat of covid
via our leap bubbles and safety protocols, which can only be successful if everyone plays their part. Therefore it is imperative to listen and act on the advice given to minimise the risk of catching and
transmitting covid (social distancing, mask wearing when out of the
‘bubble’,handwashing/hygiene, places to avoid), whilst on the program.
However, even if the whole team follows all the
safety rules there is still a risk of catching covid whilst on the program, so every family needs to talk this through, before the journey starts, to make sure everyone is onboard with the planning and consequences.
The Leap and our hosts have no liability for anyone
catching covid. It is therefore imperative that you act responsibly,
comply with guidelines and local laws at all times, especially when away
from our program in your free time and not under our direct care.
Please inform our staff if you suspect you have covid (high temperature,
fever, loss of taste and smell, new continuous cough etc) so that we
can act to protect you and others, in order to also avoid covid
disrupting your or anyone else’s program.
To make is crystal clear, if any Leaper flouts our covid rules and places themselves or others at risk, or their actions result in a disruption to the program to others, then we will start a disciplinary process as per our Booking Conditions (if necessary resulting in being asked to leave the program).
We reserve the right to take you to a doctor for assessment of whether you need a covid test if you have symptoms of concern, or if we have good cause (i.e. we suspect you are a serious risk to yourself and others) to place you in self isolation for 5 days (incubation period) even if you have no covid symptoms, for your and others safety. You will only be released from self isolation after 5 days if you have no covid symptoms. We may require you to also to have a negative covid test (at your expense) to return to program activities. If you test positive then you have to self isolate for 10 days. We will do our best to keep you active and engaged. After 10 days you can rejoin the program activities.
This will mean moving you into a room with others in self isolation. If there is no room in camp to do this (on our Costa Rica programs), you will be moved to a nearby hotel/hostel and will be responsible for paying for your accommodation and other bills (you can claim back accommodation expenses on the INS insurance). There will be no refund for missing part of the program (volunteering etc) as this scenario is outside our control and we will continue to provide support.
Managing Expectations – Project Changes and Flexibility
We do our best to describe our program as accurately as we can so that you have realistic expectations. It’s important that you read the Placement Guidelines document carefully, so you are fully prepared with what lies ahead. Pay particular attention to the description of the accommodation, food and bathroom facilities. These are likely to be less comfortable than you are used to.
Please remain flexible, as tasks and projects may change, depending on the needs of the communities and projects on the ground, especially post lockdown. You are still travelling when the world is experiencing high levels of covid. Each country has their own covid laws and regulations which you/we have to comply with, which can limit your freedoms and these rules can change without notice. This may result in us having to alter parts of the itinerary, (sometimes at very short notice) for example if a project phase has to be cancelled/changed due to covid restrictions (i.e. self-isolation etc). We will endeavour where possible to arrange a similar alternative, but cannot guarantee that. We will ensure that the alternative continues to focus on volunteer project work. We thank you for your flexibility.
Covid Cancellation Policy
These are an addendum to our existing Booking Conditions.
- If you cannot go on the trip because you have covid you will receive a full refund minus £150 covering the Leap Deposit, which is transferable to another Leap program, unless you have travel insurance that covers cancellation due to covid in which case you need to claim on your insurance. (Please note: this is only for those who are travelling directly from their home country to start the program and not travelling independently before hand).
- If you want to travel later having completed your self isolation, then we will refund pro-rata.
- If you cannot go, or we can’t send you, due to your host country placing travel restrictions, then you will receive a full refund minus the £150 Leap Deposit, which is transferable to another Leap program.
- If we had to cut the trip short due to covid or other covid related restrictions (such as borders close or we can’t continue the program), then we will refund a fair proportion of the recoverable costs on a pro-rata basis.
- If you get ill pre-departure, due to any other illness other than covid, which means you can’t go, then your insurance will cover the cost of cancellation.
- If you have to stay longer in-country due to quarantine/self isolation or other issues, then you will have to pay for your hostel etc, but the cost of this is covered through travel insurance. For USA citizens via the INext policy and for UK citizens via the Campbell Irvine policy (accommodation and transport but not food).
- If you require PCR tests during the program to establish if you have Covid you will need to pay for these. There is no refund if you test positive during the trip for services you are unable to participate in whilst you are kept in self isolation (i.e. project work etc). We will continue to feed, accommodate and look after you.
- If the UK is placed in lockdown and the FCDO place a restriction due to covid, our programs will proceed as planned as we have we managed to get teams away through earlier lockdowns due to the House of Lords and Members of Parliament confirming that our programs are a “permitted reason to travel”. We have proof of these letters which we will send to you all, if required, along with your itinerary. For UK residents: If the FCDO place a travel restrictions, pre -departure, we would advise you to purchase our partner volunteer travel insurance policy via Battleface and you would get a refund from Campbell Irvine. If you decide to cancel due to lockdown your refund if applicable, will be subject to our cancellation terms in our booking conditions, or we will offer you the choice to slide your booking to a later program and we will credit any money paid in full against this alternative program and will refund you the difference if the alternative is less and invoice you for the extra if the alternative costs more.
UK Government Red List Protocol
This also applies to residents of other countries if their government impose a requirement to quarantine in a hotel on return from so called ‘red list’ countries. This is what we will do which we feel is fair and reasonable.
- If your Leap program country goes on the red list pre-departure, and you want to pull out - we will refund you minus the deposit of £150 which is transferable to another Leap program
- If you pay us after your destination has been added to a UK red list
and then chose to cancel, your refund if applicable, will be subject to
our cancellation terms in our booking conditions.
- or we will offer you the choice to move to another program departing around the same time.
- or if you prefer slide your booking to a later program.
- we will credit any money paid in full against this alternative program and will refund you the difference if the alternative is less and invoice you for the extra if the alternative costs more.
- However, if your country goes on the red list while you are on the program, and there is a window of opportunity to return home before the rule kicks in, which you choose to take - then we will not be able to refund you for the proportion of the trip you would miss, as a UK red list notice (which is outside our control) does not affect our ability to continue to run the program. You will also need to pay for a private transfer locally to get you to the airport and for any accommodation, meals etc when away from our program, including a PCR/Antigen test to return home (if applicable).
- If they change the rule immediately, whilst you are away with no time to return before the rule starts then we will carry on with the program and think creatively about routing you home – for example, our Namibia team are now adding a 2 week phase in Egypt. Which is currently not on the UK red list.
- If a country you are transiting through on your flight to start the program is added to a UK red list and you chose to cancel your program, any refund if applicable, is subject to our cancellation policy in our Booking Conditions. If a country you are transiting through on your flight to return from the program is added after you have begun your program and you chose to cancel your program there will be no refund as we will continue to run our program as flight changes, red list notices etc are outside our control. In this scenario with our flight agent Trailfinders help, we will try and find alternative flight solutions to avoid red list if possible.
- If you are travelling to a UK red list country and a country you may have chosen to travel in, or we may have recommended to travel in after the Leap program, to avoid UK hotel quarantine, is added to a UK red list before you have begun your program and you chose to cancel your program, any refund if applicable, is subject to our cancellation policy in our Booking Conditions. In this scenario with our flight agent Trailfinders help, we will try and find alternative flight and destination solutions to avoid returning via a red list country, if possible, but this cannot be guaranteed.
- If you are travelling to a UK red list country and a country you may have chosen to travel in, or we may have recommended to travel in after the Leap program, to avoid UK hotel quarantine, is added to a UK red list after you have begun your program and you chose to cancel your program, there will be no refund as we will continue to run our program as flight changes, red list notices etc are outside our control. In this scenario with our flight agent Trailfinders help, we will try and find alternative flight and destination solutions to avoid returning via a red list country, if possible, but this cannot be guaranteed.
on 05 / 11 / 2020